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How many AP's do you think you have to have before you have perfectly honed your handbook to cover all areas of stupidity?

(76 Posts)
Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 08:24:08

We are on AP number 4 (if you include the one who lasted 8 days). And TBH I find it a right laborious PITA getting them established (might have something to do with hyperemisis and double-whammy pregnancy hormones but bear with me). We have a very detailed handbook which is revised twice in each AP's stay (once in their first few weeks whilst new things bug me, and once at the end when I want to change things because new things bug me). New things to be added in the fortnight this new one has been here are:

If the schedule says 9am start, that means you are up, showered, dressed, breakfasted and ready to go at 9am - not set your alarm at 9am. Or if it says 3pm start you don't walk in the door at 3.01pm and need to sort out a million bags of clothes shopping. No amount of telling her is working.

Locking the doors when you go out and are leaving the house unattended means actually putting the key in the lock and turning it - it's not a very secure house if I come home and can walk in the WIDE OPEN back door.

Keeping on top of the laundry does not mean on a rainy day putting one top and a pair of pants in the washing machine and then the tumble drier. And if I say "don't iron the bedding, life is too short" I actually mean it - especially once I've said it for the third time. (It's the one area she's over efficient).

If my DS asks the Q "Why?" I don't expect you to be fed up of it within 2 weeks of being here and sarcastically reply at all times "why do you think?" to a very bewildered and genuinely curious 3 year old.

Currently in bold but now going to be put in HUGE capitals as well "If you are unsure about anything ASK first before attempting it"

Oh there is more, but honestly - aren't some things just OBVIOUS? Whether you're 19 or not?!

Rant over grin

BonsoirAnna Thu 30-Jul-09 08:29:33

Oh I love your thread title!

Maybe MN should collectively write the MN Foolproof Guide to Anticipating All Au Pair Behaviours?

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 08:45:50

yes I think that would be a grand plan...

It is currently 8.46am by my watch and AP still slumbering due to start at 9am. Last words last night were "remember what I said about being ready to start at 9am" - hmmm

seeker Thu 30-Jul-09 08:58:52

Had you considered waking her up?

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 09:01:08

Yes I knocked on her door just before my last message - she's now in the shower but correct me if I'm wrong, it's now 9am... And I kind of have enough vomitting to do in the morning without having to trek up the stairs to wake an AP who has been asked at least half a dozen times to make sure she is ready to start at 9am...

BonsoirAnna Thu 30-Jul-09 09:16:02

How about providing your AP with an alarm clock that is programmed for 8.15 am?

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 09:17:12

Sorry that sounds horrifically sarcastic read back - 15 weeks of vomitting does not make me a pleasurable person in the mornings! Was a good suggestion, but obviously not sinking in... DH says I should just tack on the extra amount of time at the end of each of her sessions, but that doesn't actually benefit me and work with what I need unless I change her start time to 8.30am. I guess it pisses me off because a lot of AP's have to start at 7-ish etc and so I think 9am is more than reasonable when the other adult in the house is so unwell!

BonsoirAnna Thu 30-Jul-09 09:19:34

Surely what you really need and want is for your au pair to show some concern for you, and want to help you look after your family?

Could you point this out to her? That showing willing is part of the au pair job description?

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 09:21:39

Well I've given her an alarm clock, not sure how I can make it stay at the time I set. It's more the point surely I shouldn't HAVE to be responsible for getting her up? Should I? Seriously - if you start work at 9am you don't rock up at ten past and go to the work showers and then the canteen for breakfast?! I've never had to do that with any of my other AP's and that was when I wasn't having morning ishooos... but if I'm being unreasonable with that I'm prepared to take that on board, just not something I've come across before

ssd Thu 30-Jul-09 09:22:26

if au pairs are so stupid why do you all leave your kids with them?

BonsoirAnna Thu 30-Jul-09 09:23:30

ssd - I don't have an AP!

AP's are very cheap and malleable domestic labour, that's why they are popular.

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 09:23:33

Yes that's a very good point. We wanted to do a bit of a 'review' with her where I could actually raise these things away from the time she does them (making more of a point) along with what's going well but she's taken to going out every night whilst we are putting DS to bed (fine) but means there's not actually a chance to talk to her without DS around.

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 09:25:25

I largely DON'T leave my child with them actually - only for about 2-3 hours per week whilst I'm in appointments. I am normally around - I have a disability and need odd help like lifting him, getting him in the car, and housework. If she's with him for a prolonged time I am usually also sat there but she's playing catch or whatever...

BonsoirAnna Thu 30-Jul-09 09:26:34

It is quite reasonable to ask your AP to stay at home one evening for an hour after your DS' bedtime in order to talk things through in peace.

She doesn't sound very willing at all. Poor you.

ssd Thu 30-Jul-09 09:31:23

I know you don't Anna! I meant that post for anyone who has an au pair that they think is stupid, why leave your kids with someone like that? Although cheap and malleable is appealing to some parents!

pay decent money and get a nanny people!!

BonsoirAnna Thu 30-Jul-09 09:35:46

ssd - it's the eternal problem of childcare.

Even a nanny is not always a useful solution. My DSSs' nanny has just left, of her own volition. She was useful because she was very available, but she was bored because there was no longer enough for her to do.

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 09:38:24

what would I actually DO with a nanny? I don't need that level of help - I need someone who is generally around to help with the bits of caring for a toddler I physically can't do. But that's not the point... I've had this debate many times on here and I accept that my situation is unusual.

ssd Thu 30-Jul-09 09:40:35

Yes I agree, childcare can be a nightmare

I'm a bit more chippy than most about this as I have worked in childcare for years, have formal training and loads of experience.

The thread title just got my back up a bit with the "stupidity" comment. Whilst I agree lots of girls working in childcare can be a bit daft (said as nicely as possible!!), what I don't understand is why these parents leave their kids with people they regard as stupid?

Its that old chestnut, you pay peanuts you get monkeys

mumof2222222222222222boys Thu 30-Jul-09 09:42:44

Tell her my au pair has to be ready to go at 0640...and to be fair to her, she usually is.

She sounds like she needs a kick up the backside! Metaphorically of course.

We must have been incredibly lucky with our APs. On teh 4th, and other than the first one who was a bit of a waste of space, the others have been fab.

ssd Thu 30-Jul-09 09:43:18

weegle, maybe a mothers help for a few hours a day would benefit you more? you might get an experienced mum who would be willing to help you out and be nore understanding of your situation than a young girl who isn't much help. or maybe someone from a local nursery nurse college looking for work experience? I just think you have the wrong person for your needs just now.

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 09:43:39

I don't regard my current AP as "stupid" - I regard some of the things she does as "stupid"... but I also accept there are a lot of things she does very well and she is actually pretty willing when she is around, but doesn't take guidance well... but she's 19 and I'm hormonal so I figured having a light-hearted rant on here was probably going to be more productive than getting shirty with her. And DS seems to think she is great and not mind being spoken to sarcastically, so that I am letting go...

ssd Thu 30-Jul-09 09:46:05

or maybe a childminder who could pick up your ds for a few hours a day?

I know someone in your situation and she uses a childminder.

ssd Thu 30-Jul-09 09:47:32

mind you if your ds is happy, she must be ok!

maybe try to ignore the rest (although this must be hard!)

Weegle Thu 30-Jul-09 09:47:36

Thanks for the suggestion ssd but unfortunately that wouldn't work because of the random hours of my hospital appointments (change weekly and there are 3 of them) and because one day I may need 5 minutes help getting him in the car and the next need 6 hours help because I'm immobile. I AM grateful for suggestions but over 3 years of being a disabled parent unfortunately for the time being an AP is the best solution, I just find I begrudge having to HAVE help in the first place, I WANT to do it all myself - and that in no way is the AP's fault and I hope merely by recognising it I allow for that. Believe me - as far as current AP is concerned she thinks we are the beesknees and she's loving being here, so I really am just keeping my niggles contained.

ssd Thu 30-Jul-09 09:49:49

thats a hard situation to be in, but you sound like you have found the best solution for you and you family

good luck smile

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